What Does “No Refusal” Mean for Texas Drivers?

You’re likely familiar with the phrase “No Refusal” in reference to Texas DWI arrests. Many Texans, however, believe that this means you legally cannot refuse a breathalyzer or field sobriety test, which is untrue. While you may still refuse the tests, the purpose of the no refusal initiative is to crack down on DWI suspects by fully enforcing the implied consent laws of Texas, so there will likely be harsh punishments for doing so.

Texas’s implied consent laws mean that when you receive a driver’s license, you consent to law enforcement to conduct an alcohol or drug test should you be suspected of a DWI. As such, if you refuse the test after you are under arrest, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended. Keep in mind that you may legally refuse the test without repercussions as long as you are not under arrest. However, an officer’s response to your refusal may be to take you into custody under suspicion of DWI. If you are arrested, law enforcement will then bring you to a police station, where they may ask for a warrant from a magistrate judge to conduct a blood draw. Probable cause is still necessary to receive the search warrant, and they must still go through the magistrate judge before they can begin a blood test. They will then have a nurse draw your blood and test it for blood alcohol content. 

Many Texans may be surprised to hear that the law does not change when law enforcement decides to use the no refusal initiative. The significant difference of law enforcement during no refusal periods is that they will expedite the process by having a magistrate ready to approve search warrants, and nurses will remain on-site to conduct a blood draw as soon as possible. Because the search warrant and blood draw happen faster, there is a higher chance of catching DWI suspects with more alcohol in their systems before it dissipates. There are also more officers ready to pull suspected DWI drivers over, and more police checkpoints during no refusal periods.

While the no refusal initiative has certainly been effective in catching more DWI drivers, our goal at the Law Offices of Charles A. Banker, III is to ensure that Texans are aware of their rights. If you find yourself suspected of DWI during a no refusal initiative, your first action should be to call us at (713) 227-4100. From there, we can help you through the process of fighting your case.

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The Law Offices of Charles A. Banker, III

Our firm’s founder, Charles A. Banker III, has been a solo criminal defense practitioner with offices in Houston and McAllen, TX for over 30 years. He understands what it means to work independently in today’s hyperconnected world, but he also knows that sometimes you need to lean on others.

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